The inspirational true story of a Brechin man’s miraculous journey from paralysis to recovery thanks to the powerful spiritual bond between man and horse is the subject of the new book - Drinking the Wind: At the limits of endurance by John Tytler Thomson.
John lies in hospital unable to move. Struck down by a sudden stroke, paralysed, brain damaged and on the edge of death he must make a choice: whether to give up, or to fight.
As he hesitates between life and death, a ghostly figure passes before his eyes; an undulating, magnificent horse, beautiful, terrifying and mysterious. At that moment John realises he has to turn back and fight to live.
Having glanced beyond the veil and seen this spirit guide, without knowing why or how, John understood that if he was ever to recover from the effects of his stroke he would have to seek out the horse in his vision.
So as a critical element in his rehabilitation, John decided to learn how to ride.
During months of painful and demanding physical and psychological training, and despite the concerns of his family and friends, John developed a truly remarkable relationship with horses; within just eighteen months he was riding solo in the Trans Scotland Endurance Ride; no mean feat for a fully able-bodied rider.
With the help of his pure-bred Arabian, Prince Omar, John conquered the most dangerous terrain and harshest natural elements of the British Isles on his profound two-hundred mile journey from the East coast to the West coast of Scotland.
So moved was John by the sense of achievement, but also by the close bond he now shared with his beloved horse, that he decided to devote himself to his new passion by entering into competitive endurance racing.
Within two weeks John and Prince Omar were climbing up the rankings, progressing quickly through the novice, then advanced classifications and winning a host of competitive titles along the way.
Drinking the Wind: At the limits of endurance is a remarkable testimonial to the powerful connection between human and animal, man and horse.
John Tytler Thomson reveals his awe-inspiring struggle to recover from a debilitating stroke, revealing the radical benefits that horse-riding brought him as a potent form of rehabilitation.
Thomson explains with terrific passion the uniquely powerful bond that can exist between horse and rider, and in doing so, illustrates the great beauty and strength of both the human spirit and the equine spirit guide.
Drinking the Wind: At the limits of endurance, delivers a compelling account of both physical and spiritual endurance and will bring tremendous encouragement to any victim of stroke, or a similar physical illness, when the road to recovery can at first appear too gruelling to contemplate.
Thomson’s emotionally charged narrative is life-affirming, tapping into our deepest fears and anxieties and revealing the positive effects of alternative therapies.
The sweeping beauty of the Scottish landscape comes alive in Thomson’s writing, as he evokes a mythical backdrop befitting of such an epic quest.
He relates the cultural gems of the North, the curiosities of an ancient land with a wonderfully rich culture, whilst conveying the subtly changing relationship between himself and Prince Omar, each at the mercy of the other but together learning to trust and protect one another with each difficult step of their journey.
Since his stroke, John Tytler Thomson has become a man who lives every day as if it were his last and the story of his incredible, saddle-bound triumph over adversity his both rousing and humbling.
At it’s heart is a story of friendship, love and support, engendered in that special alliance between one man and his horse.
Drinking the Wind: At the limits of endurance by John Tytler Thomson (published by Metal Rabbit Editions 2011, RRP £9.99) is available online at Amazon UK www.amazon.co.uk and can be ordered from all good book retailers.